As the motoring world moves ever-closer to the welcome infiltration of electrically-powered cars, one thing holding them back is the availability of charging stations to “refuel” the vehicles which so far have an average range of around 120 miles between charges. The Shelf, a concept by Chinese designer Leon Zhu, takes advantage of the sun’s solar energy and collects enough of the stuff on a hot day to power the car’s air conditioner, tail lights and other electronic equipment, therefore extending the life of the car’s onboard batteries. What’s more, the solar panel protects your vehicle’s expensive duco from long exposure to the sun.

A Design Boom "Green Life" entry, the Shelf foldable sunshine cover concept tucks into a specially-designed vehicle rear wing and extends over the parked vehicle’s roof to a clip on the hood that holds everything firmly in place. Zhu says the Shelf also can be used as rear wing to improve the stability of an auto at high speed.

Even if the Shelf didn’t have solar cells, it’s still a good idea for keeping your car cool and protected, though you might want to think about tying it down when deploying the Shelf on a windy day.

Via Dvice